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'The Sopranos' Third Season Scheduled to Begin Sunday

Aired March 2, 2001 - 4:33 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The much-anticipated third season of HBO's "Sopranos" premieres this Sunday night. And once again, one of television's most critically acclaimed shows will have viewers wondering what's going to happen to the crime family.

One thing that will certainly have to be dealt with is the death of Nancy Marchand, the actress who portrayed Tony Soprano's mother Livia.

Bill Tush attended the gala premiere at Radio City and fills us in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An intimate group of 6,000 filled Radio City Music Hall in New York last week for a preview of "The Sopranos'" third season. You know, the mob has a code of silence, and it seems so does everyone involved with HBO's most popular series.

EDIE FALCO, ACTRESS: I'm just nodding. I'm not agreeing or saying...

TUSH (on camera): You know, we do this every year. I got here Edie Falco from "The Sopranos."

FALCO: No, next year there will be a premiere, and I wouldn't be here, and they would say, what happened? They'd say she told somebody a plot line.

STEVEN VAN ZANDT, ACTOR: Oh, yeah. Like I'm going to tell you.

TUSH: Can you tell us anything about it? No, that is such a stupid question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I can't. I would have to kill you if I told you anything.

JOE PANTOLIANO, ACTOR: For five grand, I'll tell you whatever you want.

TUSH (voice-over): There was another thing this gangster family wasn't talking about: how they will deal with the death of Nancy Marchand, the actress who played Tony Soprano's long-suffering, manipulating mother Livia -- she passed away last June before work on the third season had begun.

What has been learned, though, is that the premiere episode will face the loss by using outtakes of Ms. Marchand, writing around them and digitally inserting them into new scenes.

We also found out "The Sopranos'" children will go through some changes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SOPRANOS")

JAMIE LYNN SIGLER, ACTRESS: I'm not going to stop seeing Noah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIGLER: She's away from home. She's even more independent than before. And she's a teenager, she makes mistakes, as we all do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SOPRANOS")

ROBERT ILER, ACTOR: I just want to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ILER: By the end of the season, I just turn into a bad -- I'm getting to be a pretty bad kid, and I just turn worse and worse as the episodes go on.

TUSH (on camera): I got it out of you, buddy.

ILER: I am allowed to say that. I didn't tell you about when they shoot me in the head.

TUSH (voice-over): Tony's sister Janice, who had a one-way ticket back to Seattle, may surprise us.

AIDA TURTURRO, ACTRESS: Yeah, but I'm not dead. I wasn't killed. Everybody says, "Are you coming back?" I said, I am on the bus. The bus goes one way, and comes back.

TUSH: Uncle Junior wants to live forever.

DOMINIC CHIANESE, ACTOR: I hope the show just goes on and on and on and on.

TUSH: But David Chase, the show's creator, was quoted as saying, "Next season may be the last."

DAVID CHASE, "THE SOPRANOS" CREATOR: All I meant to say, I swear, was if there wasn't anything to do, then we wouldn't have to do it. But I hope that there still will be. I'm not closed off to doing another season at all.

TUSH: That could be good news to Joe Pantoliano, the newest member of "The Sopranos."

PANTOLIANO: I play Ralph Silforetto (ph). I play somebody that grew up with Jim Gandolfini, Tony Soprano, Silvio Dante and Jackie Aprile.

TUSH: Does anybody want to buy a vowel?

Bill Tush, CNN Entertainment News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYDNEY: And Bill did survive that report. That is it for us for now.

For "Showbiz Today Reports," I'm Laurin Sydney in New York. Now, let's go back to Joie -- and, Joie, your "what's it to you" was very good a couple of minutes ago, by the way.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much. I try not to make a mistake on that sort of thing. Have a good weekend, Laurin, we'll see you next week.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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